Saturday, August 6, 2022

"Who took away our food?"

   


"On Monday, the world’s eyes were on a ship leaving the port of Odesa — carrying 26,000 tons of Ukrainian corn, it was the first such shipment since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.

 

For months, every magazine and newspaper carried the same headline: A global food-crisis is looming. Record-high food prices had thrust millions into food insecurity and communities into poverty. Soon after Russian troops crossed into Ukraine, the price of wheat surged 70% and western leaders sought to tie the price increases to the war. Russia, in turn, blamed the US and European sanctions imposed against it, and Ukraine and Europe blamed the “blockade” of Ukrainian ports.

 

But the crisis of hunger predates the conflict. “Nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have access to adequate food in 2020” according to a 2021 report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). But, production and supply, especially of commodities like wheat, had not changed much at all. Well before the grains left the port of Odesa, the soaring wheat prices from February this year had already fallen — in mid-July, they fell to pre-war levels.

 

We produce more than enough food to feed the world’s entire population. Yet, our people are hungry. The spike in food prices this year, and indeed the years before it, was never about interrupted supply, not exclusively anyway — but about speculation and profiteering in the markets — a fact that has been ignored in all major reports about the food crisis from the World Bank, FAO, and other international institutions.

 

New data by Lighthouse Reports, a European nonprofit, shows that speculation in commodities markets is the dominant driver of the spike in prices, with speculators responsible for 72% of all buying activity on the Paris wheat market in April.

 

They create hunger because they can. Each year, tens of millions of subsistence farmers are forced from their land by multinational agribusinesses. This process — in its scale, almost unparalleled in human history — destroys sustainable agricultural production and forces people into slums, where access to food is dependent on prices and incomes. Poverty, not underproduction, causes famine.

 

They profit from our hunger because they can. The rising food crisis created “62 new food billionaires” in just 24 months since the beginning of the pandemic. These corporate empires do not trade in food — they trade in starvation.

 

For decades, popular forces like La Via Campesina have been fighting to build a fairer global food system. It can be done: The Indian farmers’ strike of 2020-21, which successfully overturned three neoliberal agricultural laws, gives us confidence about the power of people to resist the global regime of hunger. But to win, popular forces will need to go further — winning state power and wielding it to reclaim food from the jaws of those who profit from our hunger."



From Progressive International


Sunday, July 31, 2022

Claude Lanzmann: "Life at its widest"

[This article was first published under the title "Summer at its widest" in Catalonia Today, July 2022.]

15 summers ago (my first full one here) the CCCB, or Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona showed French-Jewish filmaker Claude Lanzmann’s “extraordinary diptych of the Holocaust.”

Coming after the critically acclaimed, monumental 9 and a half hour documentary, Holocaust [or “Shoah”] of 1985, the Barcelona screening was titled “Variations of what is real.” It was part of their Xcèntric program for 2006-7.

Led by the academic Jorge Seca, the films were subtitled in Castilian Spanish by a group of translators from the UAB, Autonomous University in Barcelona.

In the first offering, Un vivant qui passe (1997), Lanzmann tells the story of Maurice Rossel, the only representative of the Red Cross to visit the Terezin death camp and wrote a report stating that he had seen “no atrocities.”

In 1944 Rossel reported that it was in fact a “model ghetto” and noticed “nothing terribly wrong”. He also freely and repeatedly expressed his view that Jews had “a passivity that I couldn’t stomach.” 

In the longer follow-up reel, “Sobibor” (2001) Lanzmann examined another episode of the Holocaust: the attempted escape of 600 Jews (also including some Red Army prisoners of war) from a Polish extermination camp.

He did this “through the story of Yehuda Lerner [one of only 60 survivors] who was seventeen years old, when in a meticulous plan of rebellion he ordered a Nazi officer to smash his head with an axe.”

The film “ends with the triumph of the Jews’ murder of their Nazi guards and their succesful flight from Sobibor, but he does not follow the survivors [return] where some were killed.”

Lanzmann himself (who died 4 years ago this July) was often simply called a director.

In truth, he was a film producer in the widest sense of the word.

According to journalist Julia Pascal he was even “the movie-maker-as-spy, the Jew who pretended to be pro-Nazi in order to film the guilty.

In one long sequence, he posed as a Nazi sympathiser and secretly filmed an SS officer who confided his past.” In fact, after their subterfuge was discovered he and a female accomplice were badly beaten and it could have been much worse before they got away. 

Lanzmann created from his will, as a stranger to brevity, stapling it well below accuracy or exhaustive detail.

The memoir he wrote, titled The Patagonian Hare, was no exception. If you’re like me and an hour on the beach (or maximum two) is only doable with a good book and you want something different from the standard lighter or narrower reading, then this book is the polar opposite.

It’s a kind of stretched agony in many places. His battle with what becomes his life’s purpose, the telling of the most stomach-churning truths, is clear.

What shines too from the lines of his memory in top gear is his determination to never be resigned to a great silence, to never taste the poison of passivity. 

His is a reverence for life itself. Seemingly never belittled by doubt, he has made much of the crucial importance of Nazi victims being treated so that in contemporay times “they haven’t died alone.”

My hope for everyone reading this in a season of pure heat is that you find time to relax and enjoy all that you can, living with the spirit of a Lanzmann.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Sunday, July 10, 2022

"Fossil gas labelled green in ‘biggest act of greenwashing in history’"

 


"European MEPs from the far right, and the majority of the EPP today voted in favor of the EU Commission’s proposal to inexplicably label gas as ‘green’ in the EU’s taxonomy of sustainable investments by 328 to 278. 

Europe’s elected representatives have let citizens down, says Transport & Environment, which has labelled the vote a disaster for the climate and a gift to Putin.

Luca Bonaccorsi, sustainable finance director at T&E, said:“This must be the biggest act of greenwashing in history; enacted by the same people that are supposed to protect us from the climate crisis. The sun won’t set in the east just because a bunch of complicit politicians say so in a law. Nor will gas ever be clean and renewable. The laws of nature don’t lie, but the taxonomy does. This bill will not stand up to the many legal challenges being announced, and it will be shunned by investors.”

The provisions allow all new gas plants to be labelled green under the condition that they will be used ‘sparingly’. This undermines the credibility of sustainable investing, says T&E, since no green fund or green bond includes gas today. At best the EU’s rules will be ignored, at worst it will fuel a whole industry of fake green investments.

Luca Bonaccorsi, concluded: “On top of being environmentally disastrous the bill is also unfair, with almost 75% of the estimated green funds going to France and Germany. The criteria to access green funds have been skillfully designed to steer all funds towards the two member states that co-authored the law. This is a truly sad day for Europe.”


Sunday, July 3, 2022

MOSS Deck Art Show MELBOURNE with BARCELONA


Turning Art Into Water for MOSS Foundation

Melbourne: 6pm – 9:30pm Friday 25TH Nov 2022
Barcelona: 6pm – 9:30pm Thurs 24th Nov 2022

Silent Auction closes 9:30pm Friday Melbourne time & 11:30am Friday Barcelona time
(Same bidding app, same time, different time zones!)
In person and online charity auctions.
Take your decks home on the night (pick up or shipping options too).
(Also check out MOSS shows at Gold Coast in June ‘22 & Sydney/Hawaii in Sept ‘22)
::
INVITE YOUR FRIENDS - AND YOURSELF!
Top artists from around this planet are donating their original one off art works for clean water in Eswatini / Swaziland.
100% TO THE CAUSE!
::
100% of the sale price of every piece goes to funding a life changing MOSS Foundation permanent clean water scheme in southern east Africa.

(No commissions, no admin costs, no gallery commission or artist fees, no food or wine costs. It’s all sponsored.)
Every dollar you spend goes to clean water in Swaziland / eSwatini.
::
Where:
1) Magnet Gallery. SC G19 Wharf St, The District, Docklands, VIC 3008. Australia
2) Base Elements Gallery, Carrer d'Avinyó, 31, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
::

Free entry.
What is MOSS?
https://vimeo.com/295326949
www.mosswater.org
- MOSS Foundation Inc is a 100% volunteer registered charity founded by skateboarders, musicians, artists and surfers.
- MOSS Foundation has been building life changing permanent water schemes in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), southern east Africa since 2006.
MOSS Foundation - Clean Water Saving Lives
www.facebook.com/MossFoundationSkaters
www.instagram.com/MossFoundationSkaters
www.MossWaterProject.com
#MossJam
#MossDeckArtShow
#MossFoundationSkaters
@MossFoundationSkaters 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNPRBw93R2g&list=LL&index=2

Sunday, June 26, 2022

"Donald Trump doesn't like to read" [but some of the rest of us do...]


In a period of weeks where blind ignorance and Islamaphobia have been tragically demonstrated around the globe, it's apparent that the act of reading (and here I don't mean skimming racist Tweets) is more important than ever but some of the most powerful people are against it...

"The Trump statement [in the blogpost title] was used in an ad campaign ("World, stay awake") by the German bookstore chain "Thalia" to attract attention; according to former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, it is true (cf. The Washington Post, Dec. 7, 2018).
The publisher Jordi Nadal used the same slogan for the title of an op-ed piece published in La Vanguardia newspaper in which he gave good reasons for reading, of which some excerpts read as follows:
[...] reading is growing, is feeding curiosity, is giving our minds and emotions more circuits and ressources. The biggest difference between the mind of a child educated in a rich family and that of poor one lies in the words he/she knows. A poor mind doesn't have words. A rich mind has got a universe of words that, in turn, combined and made their own, turn into the master key that will open a good part of the doors and situations present along life.
Juan José Millás reminded us that reality is made of words, which means who dominates words dominates reality. Thus, we consider it an absolute gift to have discovered books and reading. For very many reasons: we can read, because we want to feed our curiosity, because we want to grow, because we want to evade ourselves [?], because we want to understand other things and other people and cultures, because we want to listen to other lives.
[...] Without reading there is no depth of field, nor contrast, nor nuances. Without reading we easily fall into fanatism. You know, a fanatic is the one who doesn't want to change neither the topic nor the opinion. Fanatics read little or badly. Without reading, there triumph naturally the tweet and hate.
What is more, reading is healing and healthy. Reading --every day there are more scientific studies that avail it-- is good for your health. Readers on average live two years more.
Reading is a clean way of enjoying life. Enjoying it as a superior form of research to learn to govern a little better, with humility and gratitude, a life that's one's own in freedom. A PISA study revealed that, beyond the indicators of place, country, etc. and levels of reading competence, a home with less than 20 books is a reliable indicator of a more than nearly assured school failure, and, on the other hand, a home with more than 200 books is a near guarantee for academic success.
[...] Every reader has got the unique and non-transferable opportunity to be the master of a world when he/she dives into the intimacy of reading, and, as was said masterfully by the great author C.S. Lewis [at least in William Nicholson's Shadowlands]: "We read to know we are not alone."
Another statement [from] the Thalia campaign: "The world has got more secrets than those known by Siri."
SOURCE: La Vanguardia, Feb. 2, 2019, p. 26 [printed edition]; horizont.net [images]
Found at Literary Rambles here.


Sunday, June 19, 2022

"Wine and a whine" – My latest opinion column for Catalonia Today magazine

 


As a reptile – I like to think of myself as one of those lizards that runs across the hottest desert sands with a high knee action like an Olympic hurdler, though in reality I’m probably more of a slow-moving komodo dragon – waking up to yet another spring morning with a sky the colour of an iron lung is all too much.


Most likely, you’re reading this with summer’s heat well underway but I actively resent the idea that most foreigners have moved to Mediterranean countries solely for solar delight. 

Not true. 

Speaking only for myself, there’s plenty of other reasons to live here long-term and I’ve written in detail about them in this column over the years.

But yes, I admit, I don’t remember a spring here in the last decade and a half that was so bloody gloomy. 

Apparently, March had the least number of sunlight hours in 50 years and April/early May didn’t feel much better. 

I want my money back. I didn’t sign up for these relentless, grim overhead conditions and general damp.

Simon Winder in his book Germania, makes an argument (with Germany as the exception) that “one very odd aspect of European countries is that if you start in their north-wests they are generally unattractive, harsh places but if you head south-east life gets better.” 

He goes on to put this down to fairly obvious factors like the existence of more sun, olives, melons and an outdoor life including wine and vineyards.

Then the author uncorks some wider history, quoting a British wine-merchant who maintains that for most people in England until the First World War, “wine meant drinking ‘hock’ (German Rhine/Mosel white) or [what was popularly called] ‘claret’ (French Bordeaux red). 

Following this, post-war, the German drop “tasted too much of steel-helmet” and apart from the sweeter “Blue Nun” it largely disappeared from many British tables.

It seems to me that a lot of 21st-century Europeans, including Catalans and Spanish of course, take good wine slightly for granted. 

In some areas, the geography supports that. Just travel [I almost remember what that verb means] down the roads or look out the train window between Martorell and down the line through the Penedès to near the coast at Sant Vicenç de Calders. 

The landscape is a non-religious hymn to the grape.

That great truth-teller Eduardo Galeano wrote, “We are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass of wine.” 

Personally, I can’t remember ever having anything better than an ice-cold Chilean dry white called Concha y Toro in a Canberra restaurant called El Rincon Latino.

With the recent scarcity of a penetrating heat and further east a war that must’ve taken any warmth out of any scattering of sun, I hope that rays of natural serotonin are soon seeping into our souls like “that first swallow of wine… after you’ve just crossed the desert.”

Now I’m reminded of the basic and essential difference between climate and weather, though I doubt Leonard Cohen was thinking about that when he wrote, “Springtime starts and then it stops in the name of something new.” 

What else is new apart from the season? Anything? Something?


[This article was first published in Catalonia Today magazine, June 2022.]

Sunday, June 12, 2022

"Damned noise" -- an opinion from the 2nd most noisy country in the world: Spain.

  


‘In this country, clamour is as inevitable as the air one breathes. It follows you, wherever you go, whatever you do.

Motorcycles, construction sites, shouting, music, mobile phones, bells, firecrackers, barking, horns, alarms, barrel organs, shouting, radios, hammers, garbage trucks, heels, drills, TVs and slot machines…


We live in the acceptance that silence is no longer possible; we have given up, we endorse with total naturalness that we do not have access to the balm of tranquillity...’


Read more (in Spanish) here.

[Article first found at Business over Tapas:

"Only Japan (with its paper walls) is noisier than Spain."]

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Another new ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reader review (that makes it all worthwhile)


"Strikingly akin to George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia.

Exudes authenticity and realism. 

Hetherington gives us vivid pictures of the innards of Spain. 

A book meant more for explorers than for tourists. 

I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to know about the real Spain."

Thanks very much, Andrew! [Review here.]

Sunday, May 29, 2022

"Hands on" – My latest article for Catalonia Today magazine

 

[Erika Lust_Pic: Monica Figueras]

On a crisp but sunny early afternoon last month, I took myself to (lower) Sant Gervasi-Galvany, part of Barcelona city. I had volunteered to be interviewed for a documentary and before stepping through the door of the rented film studio on the building’s 8th floor, a young woman asked me and two other participants to speak in a whisper and only when necessary.

 

Filming had already started. The hushed silence inside only added to the strangeness of the experience. I was there – only for research purposes of course – to answer questions about masturbation for what was apparently “a non-explicit video to celebrate self-pleasure.”

 

As we came in, we were asked to sign several legal documents, including one that confirmed we did not have Covid. I was given (here’s a piece of full disclosure) an envelope with 50 euros cash inside. Then we were taken by a different woman (who repeatedly told me how exciting it all was) across the bare, wide concrete studio floor and into a separate area.

 

A young man began to put makeup on the face of the next interviewee. I waited on a sofa with a guy with a North American accent. He was avoiding eye contact and only mumbled something unclear when I made a friendly observation, suggesting we were doing something very different today.

 

On the other side of the thin wall, I could hear talk from the middle of the room. I could make out some questions I’d probably be asked and from the woman answering I was also able to get a sense of what I might say. That helped.

 

I chatted to the curly-haired Argentine who painted and patted makeup over my nose, eyes, and cheeks. Paris wasn’t to his liking but Barcelona was, so far. Then I was up: it was my turn to sit on a stool in front of an especially bright light. A microphone was clipped onto my shirt and an assistant reminded me that I wasn’t obliged to try and answer any questions that I wasn't “comfortable with.”

 

The person asking the private questions and getting answers for her public, was the owner of the company. She uses Erika Lust as her business name and her website states she is “an award-winning filmmaker, producer, and writer [whose] focus on female pleasure, cinematic values and ethics in adult cinema have helped to change how pornography is consumed.”

 

I quickly found Erika to be a skilled interviewer partly because her questions were thoughtful and related specifically to the answers I gave. She was a good listener, that rare quality. The session seemed exploratory, not a dry run-through of a list or a pre-prepared line of interrogation. Instead, it quickly became a more open ended, fast-moving quarter of an hour. I was impressed, for example that she also wanted to know how I educated my son about sex and bodies. Her intelligence was obvious. I later discovered she was named as one of the BBC’s 100 Most Influential Women of The Year in 2019.

 

As her press kit states, “Erika defends the importance of having women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ people behind the camera in all key positions.” Her all-female production crew – young, efficient, English-speaking, and keen – were working a 9-hour day.

 

Finally, Erika asked me to wish the viewers “Happy Masturbation Month”. I was more than okay to do that and hammed it up, waving my arms and added with a laugh, “Go for it!” On the way out, I nibbled on the free lunch provided then headed back outside to Carrer Arribau with the sense that I’d done something good. And surely so was everyone else there.


(The end result...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfppLfTomd0)


[This article was first published in Catalonia Today magazine, May 2022.]


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Spain's Basque country and Richard Burton: a tenuous connection but a very real one

 


In this dramatic and poignant speech-like reply to an interview question [between 3:11 - 6:00] the Welsh actor talks about his miner father's unique relationship with The Great Atlantic Fault (or "dark artery"): a  famous coal seam that "starts in the north of Spain and goes under The Bay of Biscay and comes up in northern Wales then goes under The Atlantic and comes up in Pennsylvania."

Everything he has to say is as compelling as any political speech or piece of writing. Even more so because it's dense with authentic feeling.

(But just in case...Here's the equivalent on paper: George Orwell, "Down the Mine.")


Saturday, May 21, 2022

New fiction book from (English/Catalan) author Matthew Tree


"In Saint James' Park, London, the police apprehend a young man who is carrying a bag full of high explosives in one hand and a collection of letters sent to his grandfather by the writer Malcolm Lowry in his inside pocket. 

In the course of the following interrogation, we discover the strange past and secret phobias of the detainee, and the emotional link between his actions and the Lowry letters. (The book's author really did have a grandfather to whom Lowry wrote on a regular basis)."

From the Back Cover:

Originally published in both Catalan and Spanish, 'If Only' now appears in a revised edition in English for the first time.

'This is a technically competent book with the force of a lashing gale. There is no question that it deserves an English language readership'. 
Times Literary Supplement.

'A work of literature which has received praise from many different sources, as well as the first Columna Award' 
El Punt newspaper.

'In short, a brilliant and innovative novel...you won't be able to put it down'. The poet Daniel Ruiz-Trillo in  
El Punt newspaper.

'This extraordinary novel, which I read in one sitting...interesting, caustic and technically remarkable.' 
El Periódico de Catalunya.

'One of the most surprising, unusual and ambitious books of recent years' 
El Temps magazine.
'Tree creates an atmosphere which convinces the reader and plunges him into the world of the story'. El País.

To read more click here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

In London: a highly-deserved tribute to Peter Bush


  










Not before time, one of the very finest translators of Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese and French is being honoured next week. (See above for details.)

His brilliant work on The Memoirs of Juan Goytisolo is still one of the best pieces of translation I've ever read.

A genuine literary great and master of languages.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Italian National Parks...

I just love how all their symbols (still) look like they were designed and made before about 1984. Never been updated: there's something innocent in that.



Tuesday, April 26, 2022

“There is only one race: the human race.” -- Rita Levi Montalcini


     


I



























Marking her 100th birthday, my 2009 translation of a manifesto by eleven Italian anti-racist scientists that begins with the words:

“There is only one race: the human race.”

These were the words of scientist Rita Levi-Montalcini (also attributed to Gandhi and Satyendranath).

My English translation (from a Spanish version) can be read below:

I.  Human races do not exist. The existence of human races is an abstraction that has come about from a false interpretation of the small physical differences that we feel we perceive. It comes from mistaken “psychological” associations: differences interpreted from a basis of secular prejudice. These abstract subdivisions are founded on an idea that humans are made up of groups that are, biologically and hereditarily, greatly varied.

This is pure invention that has always used arbitrary classification between men and women as better and worse and in this way discriminates against those at the extreme (always the weakest) after having blamed them for being the key to all evil in every moment of crisis.

  

II.  Humanity is not made up of large and small breeds. It is above all a network of connected persons. Certainly, human beings come together in groups of individuals, communities, ethnic groups, nations and civilizations. But this does not happen because we have the same genes but because we share life stories, ideas and religions, customs and behaviour, lifestyles and cultures.

These groupings are never established from the same DNA; in fact they are subject to profound historical changes. They are formed, changed, mixed, fragmented and dissolved with a speed that is incompatible with the lengths of times required by the processes of genetic selection.

 

III.  The concept of race has no biological meaning for the human species. Analysis of DNA has shown that genetic variation in our species – less than that of our ‘cousins’ the chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans – is represented above all by differences between people from the same population, whereas they are less than the differences between populations and different continents.

The genes of two individuals of the same population are, on average, slightly more similar than those of people who live in different continents. Precisely because of these small differences between populations even racist scientists never defined how many races make up the human species. They made estimates ranging between two and two hundred races.

 

IV.  There is a fake and deadly myth that has already been forged: the identification of the “Aryan race” with the image of a warlike people, the winners, ‘pure’ and ‘noble.’ Along with this, there is the theory that much of EuropeIndia and central Asia is the homeland of the basis of Ind-European languages.

History makes it apparent that it is extremely difficult to identify Aryans as a people in addition to the notion of an Indo-European language that stems from conventional classification. But on the other hand, modern archaeological data indicates that Europe was inhabited in the Palaeolithic era by a population of African origin and in Neolithic times other immigrants came over from the Middle East.

The foundation of present-day Italians is from the same southern African immigrants who today constitute the enduring fabric of life in Europe. Despite the dramatic originality of fascist racism the Italians allied themselves with the Nazi’s due to their identification with “Aryans.”

 

 V.  It is a legend that sixty million of today’s Italians are descended from families that lived in Italy a millennium ago. These same Romans built their empire by welcoming people from diverse backgrounds, giving them the status of Roman cives.

The phenomena of social and cultural mixing, which marked the history of the entire peninsula - also including Greeks, Jews, Africans, Hispanics and those seen as "barbarians" - produced the hybrid we call Italian culture. Even though they were dispersed throughout the world and living in small Italian states, Italians continued to be identified with this culture that was global, varied, humanistic and scientific.

 

VI.  There is no Italian race; there is only one Italian people. Italy was only unified as a nation in 1860. Many millions of Italian emigrants in the past often concentrated in foreigner areas. They were considered as, and are, Italian. One of our greatest assets is being mixed with so many people and our exchanges that "cross" physically and culturally.

"Purity of blood" and the "nobility" of the "Nation" have been ascribed to a country that has never existed. It has meant reducing the homogeneity of an alleged biological element in addition to the current populace of Italy’s thousand years of heritage and spreading of cultures.

 

VII.  Racism is at the same time both homicidal and suicidal. Empires became empires due to the coexistence of diverse peoples and cultures, and collapsed when fragmented. That has happened and is still happening in nations with civil wars. To cope with this crisis, they used minorities as scapegoats.

Racism is suicidal not only because it hits those belonging to different peoples but because it also strikes the same people who practice it. The trend of indiscriminate hatred that fuels racism is spreading infectious ideas about any “foreignness” or strange “otherness.” This comes from an increasingly narrow definition of "normalcy".

There are those that do not match up to standard human types. They are "out of line", the "mad", the "weak spirited," gays and lesbians, poets, artists, and alternative writers. All of them are attacked, though it is they who are actually allowed to live and incessantly transform mankind. Every living system is capable of continuing only if it is capable of change, and we, human beings, change with fewer genes and always more with the inventions of our generously disordered brains.

 

VIII.  Racism discriminates, denies relationships, and it introduces fear into various thoughts and behaviours. To defenders of the Italian race, Africa appears as a terrifying threat. The Mediterranean Sea simultaneously separates and unites. From this, the racists claim that there is no "common Mediterranean race."

To reject Africa even further, racist scientists put up a barrier against "Semitic" and "camitas". Science indicated that there is a clear distinction between the genetics of Mediterranean Europe (occidentals) and on the other side, Oriental and African. From the paleontological and genetic point of view the theory that earth’s people originate from Africa is absolutely proven: we are all together in a single race.

 

IX.  Italian Jews are both Jews and Italians. Like all migrant peoples (nobody migrates from free choice, but many do so from necessity) Jews have been spread across the World and have been part of diverse cultures. At the same time they have still retained their people’s identity and religion.

So as in the cases of the Armenians, or the same Italian immigrants: the same thing is happening with migrants from now: African, Filipino, Chinese, Arabs from various countries, peoples belonging to Eastern Europe or South America, and so on. All these people had the painful need to emigrate, but also the luck in the best cases, of enriching themselves by combining their culture with those who gave them hospitality. All were equally enhanced, and where possible, neither one nor the other cancelled out each other.

 

X.  The ideology of the racist bigot is based on fear of "disruption" of their own race. This is totally blind to the fact that many societies recognize that getting married outside their community, even with their own enemies, is fine because they know that partnerships are more valuable than barriers. In addition, human physical characteristics are altered a great deal by the particular living conditions, just as the psychological characteristics of peoples and individuals are not written in their genes.

Cultural mixing is the foundation and basis of hope for progress stemming from the European Union constitution. A racist Italy fragmented into "ethnic" separation, as has happened in the former Yugoslavia, would be devastating now and in the future.

The consequences of racism are the loss of culture and self-expression, homicide and suicide, fragmentation and implosion. These end results are uncontrollable because they are caused by an indiscriminate revulsion towards those who are considered the "other" and not "us".

 

Signatories:

Enrico Allevi, Professor of Ethics, Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Rome
Guido Barbujani, Professor of Genetics of Populations, University Ferrara
Marcello Buiatti, Professor of Genetics, University of Florence
Lauradalle Ragione, Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, Perugia
Elena Gagliasso, Professor of Philosophy and Science of Living, University La Sapienza, Rome
Massimo Livi Bacci, Professor of Demography, University of Florence
Alberto Piazza, Professor of Human Genetics, University of Torino
Augustine Pirella, Psychiatrist, Co-founder of Democratic Psychiatry, Torino
Francesco Remotti, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, University of Torino
Philip Temple, Professor of Physiology, University of Torino
Flavia Zucco, Director of Research, Association President of Women in Science, Institute of Molecular Medicine, CNR, Rome

 

Original version of the Manifesto in Italian.